Skyrail: Cairns, Australia

Gliding metres above the rainforest canopy of Barron Gorge National Park in Queensland the Skyrail Cableway offers spectacular views of one of the oldest continually surviving tropical rainforests on Earth. This unique wonderland is World Heritage listed and protected with the Skyrail offering views of picturesque parks, coastal mountains, steep ravines and the spectacular rainforest.

Barron Gorge National Park stretches from Queenland’s north-east coastline between Cooktown to the north to Townsville further south and is home to a diverse array of rare and threatened plant and animal life. This tropical paradise is home to 10% of vertebrate life in Australia’s World Heritage listed site and includes such wonders as the southern cassowary, Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo and the beautiful Ulysses butterfly.

After my adventures hovering above the Atherton Tablelands in a hot air balloon, I was lucky enough to be transferred to Kuranda village where I began my one-way trip along the Skyrail back to the Caravonica terminal which is just a 15-minute transfer back to Cairns. From on board the Skyrail I was thrilled to experience spectacular views of Barron Falls – an amazing waterfall.

 At Barron Falls station I was able to read more about the rainforest wildlife at the CSIRO Rainforest Interpretation Centre and learn more about the areas past and hydroelectric development in the 1930s. There are interactive touch screens for children and adults to find more information. As I was reading about the rare and diverse wildlife, I was also wondering why the rainforest didn’t have any monkeys and I was keen to solve this riddle in my later research about the area. However, I became distracted from this question when I wondered out onto the Edge Lookout where I discovered amazing views of Barron Falls, which is a 260-metre waterfall and one of Cairns most iconic landmarks.

The Edge Lookout allows beautiful panoramic views of the water falls from an impressive glass and steel made structure with the glass panel allowing you to see down 160 metres into the gorge! This isn’t for the fainthearted! Back on board the Gondola I enjoyed the views further before arriving at the Red Peak Station. From here I was able to gain a glimpse of the rainforest floor from the boardwalk which meanders through the dense understory. I was able to get some good photos of the rainforest and marvel at the lush landscape and spectacular giant trees of the rainforest. I’ve taught in school about rainforests so having the opportunity to be walking through one was an amazing experience. At Skyrail’s Red Peak Station a spectacular display of the evolutionary history of the Earth is available.

Teaching resources available for primary teachers:

Non-Chronological Report Planning for Year 5/6: Rainforests in Australia
Non-Chronological Report Planning for Year 5/6: Australian Animals: Southern Cassowary
Rainforests in Australia Non-Chronological Report for Year 5/6
Southern Cassowary Non-Chronological Report Text for Year 5/6

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